Have you ever heard someone say that weaknesses are often just strengths expressed in an alternative way? For instance someone who has had to deal with hardship all their life can have a self-reliance, tenacity and ability to bounce back through amazingly tough situations. Equally someone who appears to have had love all their life and support at every opportunity can fall apart when life deals them a large, stressful blow.
This same idea has now been proven to a small degree in a psychological study. It has found that individuals who have often felt they are on the outside of groups are often better at dealing with the range of emotions presented by group membership. The study goes on to say that these people are able to better manage the emotions of others and often even help them come to terms with difficult people and situations in the groups. Although they may struggle at first, fitting in can be a learned behaviour rather than something inherent.
As an outsider this means that you don’t always feel sympathetic and empathetic and can often draw a wall around outside influences, protecting yourself from the drama and projected insecurities of group politics. There is also the case that you have had a good chance to experiment with different types of behaviour and find out what actually works for you, rather than simply coming to the group from the outside and adhering to the types of behaviour that are clearly already acceptable.
One of the most effective rules to follow in life is be your own best friend. Try to think of what you would advise someone else to do in the same situation and are you taking this advice on yourself? Try to gain that degree of detachment from a situation to achieve a critical view. Then if you don’t feel like it’s the right time to speak out and you feel the troubles of others don’t concern you then you have nothing to lose from simply leaving a group dynamic.
Good solution focussed psychotherapy can help any individual gain better skills at handling group dynamics and dealing with large scale behavioural shifts. This helps people see things as they actually are – not as they appear to be, using mindfulness and ACT based techniques to pick up on social cues and the feedback of feelings to make value based judgements on what’s happening.
In CBT this is known as emotional reasoning and it teaches people to trust their own value judgements and gives them the strength and belief to make the right decision in any situation. To unlock the power of these techniques in your own personal life, set up a free consultation in the first instance and we can discuss the various options available to you. Whether you want to understand why you don’t enjoy group meetings or need more assistance fitting in, support is out there.